“ Brand: Living & Learning / Age: 4 Years+ / Type: Reading / Writing „
My son is the sort of boy who put him with any other children and all he wants to do are the typical boy things play with the vehicles and construction toys at nursery. I was one of the smaller groups of parents who didn't come home with piles of art work he had created. I actually spoke to the nursery one day about his comments he wasn't good enough to join in group painting and while they did encourage him his hand grips and writing skill seemed to be a little behind his peers. This did not concern me but I did look for activities to encourage him to practise his writing skills in preparation for starting school.
I spotted a write start kit on a Car boot for 20p despite it been brand new and in its original packaging.
What is included?
It comes with
A 24 page wipe able book
A wipe clean pen
A triangular pen grip
A small brown cloth
10 dinosaur stickers.
The book is on a spiral pad and it is double sided and starts with skills 1 - 12 on one side and the remaining 12 exercises are in the reverse of the book. Inside the front cover are tips for parents, what I found particularly helpful was positioning of pen and paper to help Left handed children. My son has always shown a preference for writing with his Left hand and as a right handed person I can find it difficult to demonstrate things which are backwards to my mind. The exercises do all have a dinosaur theme which runs though the book. It starts at the level which was very appropriate for my son's stage of writing. The first picture of rain drops with dotted lines dropping vertical for the child to draw. The book follows a pattern of getting increasingly difficult but through fun games such as mazes, joining dots on dinosaur's scales and son practise of drawing shapes which will eventually turn into words. The final exercises in part one start to draw letters C and O. Part two is much more word orientated and actually practises letter and words.
As soon as we returned home my son wanted to try the writing sheet. He was instantly drawn to the dinosaurs. He really did not have the control to follow the lines closely but he did have fun trying. He didn't follow the exercises in order but I was not concerned about this. I considered it to be about an opportunity to do something that helped develop his fine motor skills. He does tend to enjoy wiping the lines away as much as drawing which is quite effective. My son did however leave the top off the pen so it dried out. I replaced it with a wipe able pen off another board we owned and I make sure he now keeps the top on when he puts it away. I found this has been a great tool that we have used at home but also has been great for occupying him on long car journeys. The stickers got separated from the toy as I didn't want him having a sticker till he could actually do what was expected of him.However he forgot about them and they still remain tucked away in a draw 8 months later. The set does come in a sturdy box which is more like a carry case. It has a small dot Velcro handle and a string handle for transporting around.
My son has used this now for about 8 months. He now can follow the lines and do the words but he does still prefer to follow the lines of the Dinosaurs rather than writing letters. I have no problems with this as he is still developing his hand control skills and his actually writing has developed rapidly since starting school.
This is suggested for children aged 3-6. I would expect most children would have grown out of this by the time they have completed their first year in reception but overall this is an excellent product to encourage your little one to draw. I do think the designs on the page do tend to lean more towards boys than girls but would be equally beneficial for both.
I cannot find this to be widely available but if you do come across one then I strongly recommend it for your young child.
My four and a half year old daughter is just at that age where she is starting to be fascinated by writing. She can now write her own name and a few important words like 'mummy' and 'daddy'! Most of all though, she just loves to 'write' her own stories which can go on for pages and pages. For people who don't know any better, they might just think these are just squiggles on the page but don't be fooled for a minute! As far as my daughter is concerned this is real writing!
For Christmas she was given a writestart kit which is actually going to help her with the mechanics of writing and should hopefully help her a lot when she starts school after Easter. The kit contains a 24 page wipe clean book, a mark on/ wipe off pen, a triangular pen grip, a cloth and some dinosaur stickers!
The booklet is spiral bound and all the pages are quite strong and durable - it seems virtually impossible to rip them so the book should be long lasting. There is a dinosaur theme going throughout presumably to help engage the child's interest! The book has two parts and this depends on which way it is facing. The first part has pre writing skills and the second part has letter formation.
On the prewriting pages (which all face one way in the book) there are lots of tracing activities. These include straight lines. spirals, curves and zigzags - all designed to help your child's fine motor skills and pencil control. Quite often, after having practiced and traced the pattern, the child will be able to draw it onto a dinosaur's body. Because the markings can all be wiped off, the book can be used over and over again, and it does not matter if things do not go exactly right at first!
The second part of the book (facing the other way) moves on to concentrating on actual letter formation. These are very helpful for showing where to start each letter and also making sure that it is the correct size. There are letters to trace over as well as extra space for children to form their own letters.
There is also some advice for parents so that they know how to help their child with the handwriting. It's particularly useful as there is a bit on how your child should hold the pen. I'm not quite sure how the pen grip works, but it does seem to help. You can also give your child some stickers for good handwriting and there are spaces in the book to stick these.
My daughter really seems to enjoy using this books and likes having a go at forming the letters, although I would not want this more formal approach to stop her writing her wonderful stories! But at the moment it does seem to motivate her and make her want to write which I feel is a good thing! It's also quite a fun book with all the different dinosaurs and that adds to the enjoyment. Another good thing is that it is suitable for both left and right handed children.
So overall, we think this is a very good pack. It is suitable for ages 3 to 6 and can be bought from Living and Learning who's website address is
It has a RRP of £6.99
Learn to write kit!